Thursday, 25 June 2009

Planted questions

Another 41 Conservative MPs have signed cheques to repay expenses in David Cameron's latest exercise in transparency - or self-flagellation as some of the MPs might call it.

Among those to have reached for their chequebook, the Tory MP for Monmouth, David Davies, who can fairly claim to be a consistent questioner of the way our taxes are used.

He had the novel idea of setting up his own independent panel to vet his expenses. That panel queried two items - a council tax rebate and a claim for mortgage interest. The Tories' own independent scrutiny committee questioned a £12 invoice for a plant pot.

"I fully accept that these claims should not have been made and repaid them immiediately. To those who will inevitably suggest that I might have tried to do this to gain a financial benefit I think it only fair to point out that both the fees office and the independent panel have seen that I underclaimed on a number of items."

So David Davies will find himself £2,033.87 poorer and could be forgiven if he has second thoughts about setting up his own independent panel.

To add to his woes, he can't recall or trace the plant pot.

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